Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The New Leadership of Detroit: Fact or Fiction by Akindele Akinyemi

Ladies and gentlemen. While I feel that what occurred last night was a overall disgrace, however, there were some positive things that occurred.

We are excited to see James Tate make it to the Detroit City Council. I supported James Tate since the primaries.

Andre Spivey also made it to the Detroit City Council. This is also great as well.

The three on my team who did not make it were:

Raphael B. Johnson did not make it because he presented a strong approach to community development. That turned off people and actually he was the one who should have replaced JoAnn Watson.

It's ridiculous that we did not elect Fred Elliott Hall to the Detroit City Council. Fear is the ultimate prosperity killer and it showed by not electing Hall to the Detroit City Council. All he wanted was something the unions hate.....regional cooperation.

But for Lisa Howze, a Certified Public Accountant to lose a Detroit City Council race in the middle of a financial hurricane, is not only disgraceful and enbrassing on the citizens of Detroit but it clearly shows how inefficient Detroit is when it comes to financial literacy.

When Lisa would speak to forums about her intense credentials in finance only 7% of the crowd heard her while the other 93% missed it.

You cannot begin a silver rights movement without having working knowledge of your home, your finances and education. In Detroit, we lack all three. I mean when you look at the bigger picture in our city we see how ignorance has become the language of money in the contemporary world that reduces people to being economic slaves.

Lisa would have brought that fiscal spirit to the table of the Detroit City Council. 

Instead, we re-elected JoAnn Watson back to the Detroit City Council. This is awful. We really believe that President Obama is going to bailout Detroit? Words of wisdom for those who are stuck in the civil rights/black power movement. The government is not going to bail out Detroit like they did Wall Street or the Big Three. We have to think creative if Detroit is going to survive.

While we have Mayor Bing and a new City Council and two new elected school board members ready to work on behalf of the people I think we need to go higher than local issues. It's time to think regional and global if Detroit wants to survive. Our dignity is on the line and we need to stop thinking about local rat races and get involved in higher thinking if we are going to survive.

In order to think higher we need to change our thinking process. Even though we elected Charles Pugh, Gary Brown, Saunteel Jenkins, Andre Spivey and James Tate to the Detroit City Council people still re-elected Ken Cockrel, Brenda Jones, Kwame Kenyatta and JoAnn Watson. The ONLY way Detroit will move into the 21st century in a silver rights movement is if the 5 newcomers work together and vote against the old guard 80-90% of the time. This includes fostering a stronger relationship with Mayor Bing and his administration.

This new council cannot get caught up on old things that has traditionally scared Detroiters. Things such as privatizing, regionalization and globalization must roll off their lips if they are serious about moving Detroit from an automotive market to a financial market.

The new Council needs to understand  that Detroit problems cannot be only solved by money. No money will make Detroit a safe heaven for its citizens. Something should be done- but what is it? Since the 1960s, Detroit has been receiving money in terms of loans, projects, aid, you name it but has the situation changed? There is still constant, starvation, poverty, HIV/AIDS, child abuse, death from curable diseases and corruption.The common citizen has  not benefited from the 'well intentioned' projects. As donors pour money into Detroit, the citizens are busy pumping their tax-payers’ money plus natural resources back to the rest of the region. The value of the money and property taken away from Detroit is much more than what the region receives. Detroit is consequently becoming poorer and poorer.

What should the younger Detroit City Council and its counterpart the Detroit Charter Commission generation do to make the Detroit a safe place for its citizens? What should it do to make them not dream of flying out to 'safe heavens' outside Detroit?

Detroit must erase the need for a Marshall Plan as proposed by Councilwoman JoAnn Watson. We already see what federal aid does to our city when there are no checks and balances.  For her to lie to people is absolutely insulting.

What Councilwoman Watson is not telling you is that such a plan would extend to poor communities like Detroit and how the common man in the street will end up paying higher taxes in the future as he is forced to  bow before robbery as we see in investment in third world countries currently where much wealth is robbed as the citizenry cascade into abject poverty.

What’s more, this so-called Marshall Plan would be money given by the left hand but it ends up being snatched by the right one. The right one being the wrong people.

This new leadership must present itself as ambassadors to the global market. African exporters are telling U.S. markets,  that despite the economic downturn, the $11-trillion US market still offers many opportunities to African entrepreneurs willing to stay abreast of the dynamic marketing environment of the United States and market their products to meet consumer demand. Detroit must open its ports and allow free enterprise to make its way throughout Southeastern Michigan.

I have heard some in Detroit discussing the need to rightsize the city instead of utilizing land banks to get rid of property. Urban agriculture does not mean planting large acres of seeds in a lead-filled area. Urban agriculture means bringing an Agricultual Experiment Station to Detroit. It also means transforming abandonded homes into greenhouse space.

Urban Agriculture does not mean eating watermelons near the incincerator. It means allowing African exporters to sell their products in the Metro Detroit market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). AGOA allows about 9,000 agricultural and manufactured products to enter the US duty and quota-free. It's something to think about when you are researching policy.

Clearly, the resources Detroit needs to develop can be found in Detroit itself – only if its leaders were willing to reform their abominable economic and political systems, re-orient their development policies toward regionalization, curb corruption and invest their wealth-legitimate or ill-gotten in Detroit. But the old leadership, wedded to the old “blame Oakland County” paradigm, is not interested. There are no race battles or take over the city jewels schemes between Oakland County and Detroit. This is fostered by the media to keep our region divided. 

All scholars and intellectuals agree that there have been both external and internal causes of Detroit’s crises. The first is what relative weights to assign to the factors. Whereas some urban scholars would assign 80 percent of the causes to external factors, I would assign only 20 percent to the external. Second, for far too long the internal factors have been ignored. The average intelligent person looks both ways before crossing a street or risk being hit by a truck. Detroit is in bandages because its leaders always looked one way – at the external. Third, I lay more emphasis on the internal factors because they are subject to our control. Take corruption for example. We can curb it if we are serious. Hopefully, what I see is the same for our new leadership.

Politically, we should move away from celebrating numbers to celebrating quality. Detroit needs leaders that can rally people to realize their potential here on earth. To brag about numbers (votes) while ignoring the fact that we are talking about poor citizens who cannot afford a meal a day is to insult the very essence of governance. Competitive advantage in politics should focus on policies that ought to reverse the wave of poverty in the city.

So if this new Detroit City Council along with the Detroit Charter Commission and Detroit School Board is serious about transforming Detroit then they need to do it from a regional perspective. I am not interested in supporting anyone who has a tribalistic mentiality. Detroit needs to join the rest of the world if they want to survive. And even though Detroiters just elected a new City Council I still remain on my original word that we need to look into consolidating city-county governments to cut down on duplication of services to keep our budget in the black. This includes taking a look at regional policing and privatizing trash and EMS. Other cities are doing this..what makes us special? The charter commission has to revise a code where privatizing of city services can be done to allow competition in the market place. I am hoping people like Ken Harris will lead the way on this since he already believes in the free market of capitalism.

Education is a passport to freedom. According to The Silent Epidemic report written by Civic Enterprises that shared the perspectives of high school dropouts, approximately one-third of all children, and 50 percent of minorities, in public high school drop out of high school nationwide. In many of the nation’s “dropout factories,” the percentage of dropouts far outpaces the percentage of graduates. This is not good for 21st century Detroit, and it is an economic death sentence if not changed for the urban community. Nationally, can we afford to write-off almost 100 million Americans, or approximately a third of our nation’s population? Who is going to fund our Social Security fund in retirement if we do?

Education is the ultimate poverty eradication tool, for when you know better you tend to do better. But financial literacy is the means by which one moves from simply avoiding the poverty trap to embracing a true prosperity agenda; for themselves, their families and their communities.

What if we unleashed upon Detroit, and the world, a new vision for the 21st century? An aspirational generation of role model inspired, positive and contributing young entrepreneurs, self-employment projects and “doers” over the next 20 years? I’ll tell you what would happen, Detroit would get a genuine second shot at keeping this party called American prosperity going over the next 100 years, because you cannot keep a third of the American population on the economic and aspirational sidelines and otherwise expect that it will. But we have to stop always looking for larger government to give us a handout when we need a handup.

Let's see what this new leadership does in Detroit and for our region. If they believe in globalization then our city will win. But if they allow adult illiteracy to influence their vote at the council table, charter commission or school board then we will continue to beat a dead horse on a plantation.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Zaou delivers proportion better than that. [url=]Mulberry Tote Bags[/url] After losing the first two games of the series, LeBron and the Cavaliers won four straight games, including a Game 5 double-overtime thriller that saw him score 48 points (including 25 in a row) and a layup to win the game with only seconds remaining. [url=]canada goose expedition[/url] Rdnfyvhkw
[url=]pandora outlet[/url] Msydkprml [url=]canada goose online[/url] eancjjudn